Q&A: Star Wars Futures, Cantinas, and Thinking Pink

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, February 10, 2019

1. why doesn't Hasbro make girl in green spandex and call her Cantina Girl? I don't think collectors will care if the face is not 100% if it means finally finishing the Toonika sisters.

This is one that vexes me - the Tonnika Sisters did sort of appear in The Clone Wars on a little screen in a tiny cameo. The characters aren't the actresses - it's a costume. You could make the costumes on women with different faces, animated heads, of different ethnicities, even different species - as long as you have spandex and the right hair, it'll be OK. I'm kind of surprised there isn't (hint hint, Kickstarters out there) some third-party, Boss Fight Studios-esque figure line with characters in these costumes without any trademarks or branding.

Hasbro's likenesses are all over the map. Solo: A Star Wars Story has amazing Thandie Newton and Woody Harrelson faces, and continuing a proud tradition over 4 decades, the worst Alden Ehrenreich. Clearly, likeness isn't important as long as the character is nailed down - and Hasbro did make a very Han Solo-y Han Solo figure! I would agree with your assessment. I don't think Hasbro wants to do it and doesn't care, though.



Ad: Star Wars Elite Hot Wheels and More at Entertainment Earth!
Transformers Masterpiece Edition MP-18+ Bluestreak Overwatch Mercy Figma Action Figure Black Panther Marvel Legends Shuri and Klaw 6-Inch Figures LEGO 75235 Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter Trench Run Alfred Hitchcock Blood Splatter ReAction Figure Star Wars Black Series Zuckuss 6-inch Action Figure Star Wars Black Series Captain Phasma 6-inch Action Figure Star Wars Solo Force Link 2.0 Kessel Mine Escape Playset Star Wars The Vintage Collection Imperial TIE Fighter Star Wars TFA Resistance X-Wing Fighter HW Elite Vehicle Star Wars: TFA First Order TIE Fighter Wheels Elite Vehicle Star Wars Poe Dameron's X-Wing Hot Wheels Elite Vehicle Star Wars ESB TIE Fighter Hot Wheels Elite Metal Vehicle Star Wars The Vintage Collection Action Figures Wave 4


2. Are Disney done trying to recreate Star Wars as a girls property now that the hunger games fade is over? Or are they still living in La la land on this one?

This seems to be a phase - and that phase seems to be over. A lot of big plans for more Forces of Destiny seem to have been replaced with the somehow Galaxy of Adventures cartoons (say what you will about Forces of Destiny but I got to see Luke fight a Gorax and THAT IS WHAT I NEED IN LIFE) but the line launched poorly and as such, it tripped and fell. Hasbro's Marvel Rising got an exclusive-to-Target launch last year and it certainly feels over - it just didn't make as big of a footprint on its way to obscurity. I assume it's over, but I think there's still potential here. Mattel had a Harry Potter line of collector dolls too, and gave Walmart the exclusive launch. I saw many of them for $5.00 over Superb Owl weekend. It was a great idea, but there's a stigma. Dolls are for girls, or doll collectors, and a lot of toy buyers are neither of those.

Rose and Sabine and Admiral Holdo are the kind of thing we need more of to sell to more people. You need more women to sell more women on collecting - putting characters from decades past in pink boxes isn't enough. Rey and Jyn are good starts - but you have to move to the next thing, or give them more costumes, because you can't sell the same Rey 15 ways and expect anyone to remain engaged. Rey in a disguise would be cool - Jyn Erso got a lot of cool figures between her landing crew disguise, her normal outfit, her cold weather costume, and the super-articulated slightly-different figure too. I feel we really got everything well with Jyn Erso as a 3 3/4-inch figure, even The Last Jedi Force Link reissue sold well at retail as collectors maligned it. Hasbro and Disney got her right - and she was a good lead, too.

If they add more women to Star Wars stories - new ones, not retroactively Special Editionizing things - I think we're going to see a wider audience for this stuff. I think it's great that Lucasfilm appeals to a wider audience, but hopefully something a bit more inclusive than "here are some dolls from different time periods of characters that do not interact."

I'd also love to see a 3 3/4-inch line with their character selection but compatible with existing toys. If they want to put out an all-girls figure assortment that just happens to fit with all the existing figures and vehicles, but Forces of Destiny-ish branding? I'd be stoked. Those jumbo Forces of Destiny figures were well-made and interesting, but there's a certain lack of momentum in selling any and all Star Wars toys since, seemingly, mid-2017. I don't think it's good to make 3 3/4-inch Sabines and Leias hard to find, but I also don't think it's good to make Leias and Sabines too big to interact with the other toys. New scales alienate long-term fans and make parents that already bought one size of toys angry. If LEGO suddenly changed the sizes of their studs on the bricks, you'd have a revolt. A 6-inch or 3 3/4-inch line of girl-driven characters could work. There's even precedent - 1998's Princess Leia Collection added soft goods and gave us more and better Leia figures than the rest of the line had up to that point. Minus Endor Leia. That one needed some work in the paint department. (And, to continue the digression, she got it in late 2006 and was fantastic.)




3. are you privy to any developments with the basic Star Wars line during the long wait before Episode IX? The basic 3.75 assortment is my preferred action figure line, but after Solo, they appear to be jumping into Resistance, which I'm not fond of. Its not that the figures look bad, I'm just not a fan of the cartoon as I was for Clone Wars and Rebels. I was hoping we'd see some unreleased movie characters before the push for Episode IX starts. Figures such as TFA General Leia, TLJ Connix & Holdo, or some of the great designs from Solo: Maul, Therm Scissorpunch, or Lady Proxima. Is the "universe" line retaining a presence at retail, or is a drought going to happen, leaving us with only a limited selection from TVC?

I'm privy to all kinds of things! But if I could talk about them all, I'd have a much more popular toy news site. Mostly all I'm good for is confirming things you probably heard and forgot about.

Right now we've got a few concurrent 3 3/4-inch lines. Force Link 2.0 is out - nothing new is planned beyond what has been announced, unless it's being kept so secret it's not on my radar. We have Resistance (singles and 2-packs), The Vintage Collection, and Galaxy of Adventures assortments all running right now - that's four separate 3 3/4-inch assortments, which is a lot. Like, a ton. Given how little newness is in there, it's kind of stunning that there are four separate assortments in this size, today, right now, in some stores near you. Lots of work goes in to not covering all the bases.

As of this moment there are zero rumors known to me of a Holdo, Connix, or really anybody new and interesting from the sequel movies on deck. I don't remember hearing of anybody coming to the 3 3/4-inch line between now and Force Friday based on the sequel movies - that isn't to say there won't be any, but where it would go, I certainly haven't heard anything.

We're definitely in a stage where good designs are moot, as fan demand is scattered and character selection seems determined on marketings cherry-picking A-Listers exclusively - save for a few Vintage figures, and even most of those are repeats. I'd love to see Connix and Holdo and Bazine Netal and GA-97 but it seems there's always some reason to not go back and give us new figures of characters a fan can recognize. Then again, Hasbro took years to give us The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker, so I figure we'll just be waiting a bit longer. I generally don't understand how come the main drive of buying this stuff - fans of all ages buying characters they know, recognize, and love - has given way for the new and unknown all the time. There's an easy solution here.



Become a Patron!

Special thanks to our generous Patreon patrons, especially: JT, Sean, Shawn, Jayson, Matthew, Stephen, Marco, Robert, Christopher, Timothy, and David! Thanks for helping us keep the servers on!



Once again, the mailbag is empty! Send in your questions today.

Toy Fair is in just a few days, so I'm not sure if we'll do Q&A next week yet - it depends on if questions make it in before the deadline of me having to switch to Work Mode. Send in your questions - I'll still look for answers! While I do get to go to press events, I'm also going to business meetings. So send in any questions you might have - I'll keep my ears open. I'm also sorry to say don't bother asking for that one obscure original trilogy character they didn't make yet. I get confused looks when I ask these days, and we don't exactly get a lot of original trilogy anything at the moment.

I don't really have any expectations for Toy Fair. Hasbro has been pretty good at meeting expectations in Transformers, and I believe they and/or Lucasfilm are trying to make Star Wars unable to serve the needs of new fans or hardcore fans while also overproducing a lot of items so there's really no reason to make and remake things you can buy at a fraction of the price. I can't believe we got a $500 Sail Barge, or that Sim Aloo still hasn't been redone after two decades. The best I could possibly hope for at Toy Fair would be confirmation of another special thing for 2020 or 2021 - I'm in no rush to get it, because I need to see where the Barge will go first. I'd also be very happy to see Hasbro commit to themed waves again, even if they're not themes I'm necessarily excited to get. The scattershot approach of reruns could be a lot more exciting if we got - for example - the return of existing Cantina Aliens with a new Luke or Han, plus maybe one or two all-new aliens we haven't seen before.

It was hard to balance the needs of a movie line with three movies, but now we're at 12 live-action features, 1 animated feature, over 200 TV half-hours, and that doesn't even delve in to the comics, novels, or video games. It's impossible for Hasbro to ever release a wave to exactly please every fan, so it would be great to have some waves that serve as a great entry-point for new collectors as well as throw a bone to the old farts. Resistance - my opinions on the show aside - seems to be doing a good job picking up troopers, heroes, bad guys, and droids to keep things interesting and most important of all, selling. The main problem I see from Star Wars today is momentum - we used to see smaller waves more often, now we're getting a ton of figures all at once followed by months of drought... and then new releases of existing product. That won't keep fans of any age on the hook forever.

With Episode IX just 10 months away and future movies under wraps (I would bank on them being quietly cancelled, but that's me), this could be our last hurrah at the movies for a few years. I kind of hope that it is - five pretty good movies in as many years is a lot of adventure, and at least four different TV stories are in the works too. I'm good for now. Maybe try some oddball things - Star Wars as an anime, with animation based on the original film's audio, could be exciting and is something fan have asked for here and there (and an excuse to do more classic stuff.) Heck, Galaxy of Adventures is a low-budget take on that very idea. Even just letting the licensees coast without direction from the House of Mouse could be good - Hasbro gave us our very best years when there were no movies in theaters, and if a mandate is making us get higher-priced repacks in tubes, I'd rather we see what going "classic" looks like - even if it's just new toys of existing Disney-era movies.

I hope Hasbro keeps Star Wars alive and fun, because it's not like we're going to start collecting Avatar stuff next year.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.